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ATP World Tour Finals 2013 Day 1: Del Potro & Wawrinka on form

Juan Martin Del Potro triumphed in Tokyo
by Alexandra Willis at The O2
Monday 4 November 2013

Wimbledon.com's highlights from the first day of the  Barclays ATP World Tour Finals at London's O2 Arena...

Del Potro nudges Gasquet aside
It has been a trying few days for the Argentine, who suffered the theft of his briefcase at the Gare du Nord in Paris, but he had his head in gear in his opening match against Richard Gasquet, coming through a delightful spectacle of shot-making to win 6-7(4), 6-4, 7-5. Gasquet, making his second appearance at the season finale, proved that he is not just in London to make up the numbers, pushing the Wimbledon semi-finalist to three sets, sneaking the first in a tie-break. With the two going single-handed backhand to two-hander, Gasquet trying to get the ball to bounce up and out of Del Potro's strike zone. 

But he couldn't keep the ball out of Del Potro's way quite enough to cause the upset, the crowd entertained to the last ball as the former US Open champ closed it out 7-5 in the third. Signing the camera "gracias a todos", he seems in cheery spirits, all things considered. 

50 wins for Wawrinka
What better way to begin your World Tour Finals debut than with a big win. That's what Stanislas Wawrinka achieved with a 6-3, 6-7(0), 6-3 victory over Tomas Berdych to kick off the singles proceedings in North Greenwich. It stands to reason that Wawrinka should perform well on these bright blue courts, if his big-hitting is on form, but Berdych is no slouch when it comes to indoor hard courts either, and, ranked fifth to Wawrinka's eighth, would have been a favourite, albeit narrow, to win. But, that said, Wawrinka had the confidence of two wins over the Czech already this season, and, despite failing to win a point in the second set tie-break, made it three wins out of three in 2013 in front of some raucous Swiss fans. It was his 50th win of the year, the seventh player this year to bring up 50 wins in a season. 

"To win it, my first match here, was something really special for me," Wawrinka said. "I'm really happy the way I'm playing against him, but it doesn't mean I'm a better tennis player than him. 

"In general, I think I'm dealing much better the pressure. Even when I'm nervous, you don't see it. I keep my level. I keep my intention on what I want to do."

There are no easy matches in this event though, so Wawrinka will have to produce more of the same if he is to keep his London record in the black. 

Murray's musings
Andy Murray is sadly not participating in this event, but he is certainly watching it, if his twitter commentary is anything to go by. #joinin

London calling beyond 2015?
The staging of the World Tour Finals here in London is proudly vocalised as a tremendous success, the tournament registering record attendances, lucrative coffers and plenty of pomp and circumstance befitting the men's season finale. But there seems to be a difference of opinion about whether that will still be the case in the years to come. 2015 is technically the last year on London's list, and while Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal are of the view that it is only fair for the tournament to move elsewhere, the ATP have suggested that staying in the capital beyond 2015 is not out of the question.  

Rise of the underdogs
Fernando Verdasco may not be competing here in singles, having made the season finale just the once, here in London in 2009. But he seems keen to make the most of his attendence in the doubles, as he and David Marrero upset fellow Spaniards and defending champions Marcel Granollers and Marc Lopez, 6-1, 6-4. Verdasco then showed his fellow players some excellent treadmill technique. Thanks to Stan for capturing this one. 

Polish power
The other doubles of the day saw Mariusz Fyrstenberg and Marcin Matkowski simply see off Aisam ul-Haq Qureshi and Jean-Julien Roger 6-3, 7-6(8). 

The gala
As was the case last year, the ATP put on a glittery gala to kick things off in London. Here's some behind-the-scenes video...

And on Tuesday...

Afternoon Session (12:00 GMT)
Alexander Peya & Bruno Soares v Leander Paes & Radek Stepanek
Rafael Nadal v David Ferrer  

Evening Session (18:00 GMT)
Bob Bryan & Mike Bryan v Ivan Dodig & Marcelo Melo
Novak Djokovic v Roger Federer

Want to see any of this live? There are still tickets available...



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